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In knowing yourself, wisdom comes with it thus the greatest desire that Socrates points to men is that they should value wisdom and truth above money and wealth. Knowing yourself is not an all of a sudden event rather it is a lifetime quest that individual should endeavor to achieve. Socrates argues that we are in the purest forms within, yet we barely reflect on ourselves rather we are concerned about what happens to others, and struggle to appease others. This weakness deprives us of the sacred nature as we falter in the process of showing external gestures to others. Consequently, we fail to meet exposed the real nature in us. This poses a danger to human development hence the greatest reason as to why we do not live to full potential.
In the quest of self-knowledge, we are able to focus on ourselves thus the ethical and moral attributes are realized and brought out. This is the basis of morality. Self-knowledge has to be harnessed to provide the mental strength and courage to live morally. This will enable individuals to attain innate powers and utilize them in daily ventures. Self knowledge in moral formation is significant as it serves as the compass to decisions and actions. With the numerous negative influences and distractions, positive self-attributes and knowledge is shrouded causing fear, self-doubt, anxiety and hostility. This consequently causes erosion of morals.
To re-assert morals in such an individual, they have to be directed into self-search and scrutiny to be able to determine the cause of immoral traits and means to eliminate them hence knowledge of self-strengths and weaknesses. Thus, self-knowledge forms the basis of morality and peaceful co-existence in the society. It also enables individuals maximize their efforts in what they do best as they improve on their weak points.
What is the nature and significance of the debate over the ontological status of the good in Plato's Euthyphro?
Plato uses the character Euthyphyro to bring out an argument about pious. He broadly pokes the Euthyphro to give definitions about what is valid hence a basis for reference. In the many definitions of what pious is, he finds flaws in them. Though Euthphyro has done an action that is pious, he is unable to explain expansively what makes the act pious thus fails to provide substantial reason that Socrates could use in his defense.
Euthyphyro is asked to demonstrate and define what is pious. He is capable of finding actions to demonstrate but fails to find the exact definition through a series that he gives. Through the definitions, Socrates fails to get the real reason of what makes piety, whether it is nature or a characteristic. Basing on the polytheistic culture, he argues that the gods may not agree on what is pious hence; an act may be perceived as pious and evil concurrently. While, in the contemporary monotheistic culture, there being one God, it is difficult to specify his will as individuals have their view of what is moral and pious. There is a high rate of occurrence of social atrocities committed in the name of God’s will. This has led to further need for a clear definition of what pious is and virtuous.
The variation in perceptions is considerably applied as it is expected that not all-social welfare is good to all thus, acceptance by the majority is no measure for characterizing actions and deeds. With varied thoughts and preferences, it is essential to appreciate substances, as we perceive them since they may lack attributes to base on classification. Thus, the argument strives to reinforce the definition for convenient and pious as to what is acceptable yet the popular thought is not always right.
Discuss Plato's notion of "Unchanging Truth.” What constitutes the basis of knowledge of the Good
According to Plato unchanging truth is constant and beyond human understanding; hence it is transcendent nature. It does not change and has an element of permanence. This truth is not vulnerable to alterations and is perfect. He used it to gauge the physical or visible things and the intelligible. Perceiving of visible things is through senses and is vulnerable to change. The position of the physical forms is, therefore, several steps away from the truth. The intelligible objects involve the use of intellect or reasoning power and are characterized by permanence and consistency.
Unchanging truth is also not based on what is understood through senses. It does not agree with sense judgments’. This is because senses only give the appearance and not the inner truth of things or the reality on the ground. He used this idea to criticize the forms of writing such as work of art. He saw forms of writing as an inferior tool of enhancing the unchanging truth. He also used the idea of bed to criticize arts such as literature also in explaining the permanence and transcendent nature of truth. The example of bed discussion is in three stages. The first is the bed as an idea in the intellect or mind. This is the truth which is unmutilated. The second is the bed as a physical object made by carpenters, which is seen as an imitation of the truth. It is one step away from the truth. The third is bed as described by an artist.
Example is an artist’s painting of a bed. From a distance, it resembles a real bed and one might be tempted to believe it is the truth. This is deception and stands for all works of art. It is also three steps away or third removed from the truth. That is three steps away from the ideal bed, which stands, for the initial unaltered form. From this point of view, the artists’ works of art were seen as having no value or worth, for they were far from the unchanged truth. Considering the basis of knowledge of the good, quality can be seen as the focus of cognition of the knowledge. This means that, it is from the idea of good that the fair, proper and morally upright things are given the required worth and importance. Reasoning is essential for Individuals to acquire Good.
How does this relate to the doctrine of the Forms?
In addition to this, knowledge is understanding thoroughly or being conversant. It is well informed and not dependent on acquired intelligence, or the physical objects but the perfect, ideal forms. It searches for the pure forms, which are only understood through the intellect or minds. This knowledge pursues God’s forms, which represent the ideal truth; Knowledge relying on sense perceptions is of no value as it interferes with reasoning preventing us from understanding the reality. Knowledge makes us mistake appearance for reality.
The physical forms are seen as imperfect presentations of the reality. They are a mimic reality and quite far from the truth. An outstanding example is the bed. There is only one ideal bed, but there are so many beds in the world, which are still known as beds. They lack permanence in that they are several different physical forms derived from the ideal form, which is the truth. The actual form is one, in singular, but there are so many forms representing it. Forms are the representation of the acquired intelligence and not the pure and perfect objects in mind. They are simply classified under the realm of sense perceptions since they attract senses and not intellect. From these deductions, physical forms are not part of unchanging truth and do not also fall under the knowledge of the good. The capacity to understand the physical things in mind is knowledge of the good.
What is the nature of Plato's ideal form of justice as presented in Republic
From Socrates’ dialogue with his followers in Republic, ideal justice should give right consequences and not unpleasant ones. It is not capable of reproducing harm but goodness only. This is seen in disapproval of Thrasymachus definition of justice. That is doing what is right for one's friends who are trustworthy, and wrong to one's enemies who are untrustworthy. In addition to this, ideal justice is the form, which is essential in ensuring soul satisfaction and joy in an individual. That is happiness in one’s life. The just live a happy life even in cases of ill treatment. The unjust does face an unhappy life. Ideal Justice is seen as the best tool in ensuring orderly politics and a right life.
Explain the following quote:" the good of man is the active exercise of his soul's faculties in conformity with virtue.”
In understanding happiness, Aristotle described the actions of man that distinguish him from the other animals. These actions result from a profound involvement of the brain in deciding the ethic of actions taken. The actions man in the world results from the interplay of mind soul and principles. Human being should carry out activities according to reasoning, hence the term acting virtuously. The soul consists of two parts that are distinct from each other. One part of the soul is the rational aspect that is responsible for sound reasoning and making a decision. This part in the core distinguisher of a human being and other animals.
Aristotle noted that, a man’s ability to utilize the rational part of the brain in deduction of moral behavior, gives him an upper hand in attainment of happiness. The goodness of a man depends with the interaction of the faculties of the soul especially the rational division. An analysis of goodness of a man while asleep can be conducted to demonstrate the importance of this faculty. In this evaluation, there is no difference between the good and the wicked since the soul is nonfunctional. The nutritive part of souls is found to be active during sleeping. Virtue can be categorized into intellectual and moral virtue. Moral virtues contribute substantially to the degree of goodness. Therefore, actively involving the brain in activities that we undertake help in maintaining the virtue of an individual. Men should differentiate themselves from other beings through rational, critical and creative thinking. This will go a wrong way in maintaining the virtue of the society.
What are Aristotle's rational claims concerning the nature of the good?
According to Aristotle, every human being aims at achieving some good that is of the highest order. In nature, the highest good, according to Aristotle, is happiness. However, the form of happiness varies from individual to another depending with their situation and social class. This could be pleasure, honor, health, richness, power or even satisfaction in needs.
Aristotle believed that living in affluence could not be taken to mean that such an individual is happy. Instead, those who desire the wealth only attribute them to such tribute. Therefore, being wealthy does not necessary guarantee happiness rather it depends with the situations. Likewise, honor does not lead to happiness. This is because honor is a factor assigned to an individual by the society due to their social class. Aristotle holds that honor is what other people think and not necessarily the truth. This can further be supported by, Plato’s notion of reality and appearance, where what we perceive may not necessarily reflect the truth of the matter.
In addition, Aristotle believed that happiness is individualistic and cannot be generalized. In a society, individuals have varied reasons that can make them achieve their desired level of happiness. In his view, Aristotle believed that the highest good must be independent and terminative. This means that, it should not create chains of events from one action to the other before its influences is realized. Happiness has been proofed to possess these qualifying characterizes.
Goods identified by Aristotle in his theory include; extrinsic, goods of soul and bodily goodness. The most imperative form of goods is the goods of soul, which encompasses the personal deeds. Happiness has a connection to nobility and pleasure. In real life, happiness can only be evaluated in a living individual who can express his ideas about the situation he/she is experiencing. A virtuous man is in an endure shocks of happiness better than a dastardly individual. It is worth noting that happiness can be said to be a result of the soul involvement in respect to virtue. Therefore, a close evaluation of the aspects of happiness is necessary to differentiate the intellectual and ethical virtues. Aristotle claims that, in attainment of happiness, there are other forms of lesser goods that must be attained. For instance, fame, satisfaction, victory, power, wealth and honor are all beneficial in the sense that they culminate to happiness.
How does it differ from Plato's notion of the absolute form of the Good?
Plato view of good has some aspects that Aristotle did not concur with his claims of good. First, Plato claimed that good could be generalized in a society. In his part, Plato believed that the ultimate form of good is knowledge. He claimed that, through knowledge, other goodness is discovered. However, no individual can pursue good without the philosophical principles of knowledge that entail critical and creative thinking. This is much different from Aristotle’s claims, which appreciates happiness from different aspects of life. To Aristotle, happiness depends with an individual’s desires. Ones these expectations are met the person settle happily and can be said to be successful.
In Aristotle’s view, the forms of good include external good associated with soul and body inclined good. Though he stresses on the importance of goods of soul, knowledge is not a core factor in attainment of good. In contrast, Plato believed that conversant knowledge leads to understanding of the forms of good. He holds that, justice, truth and other aspects of good are all derived from the core form of good from which other things emanates. In Plato’s theory, there is no issue termed as the higher good. He believes that nature provide room for good while fabricated entities are viewed as non-good. Aristotle disputes Plato’s theory of form in the sense that, phenomena can erupt just like knowledge can be acquired through experience.